Complete Streets for Valentine's Day

You Complete My Streets

SB243 helps communities use Complete Streets tools to make life better.

New Hampshire communities want their citizens to have the means to stay healthy and to prosper.  One way to do both is to make to make our downtowns more livable and walkable, a move that has been shown to increase retail sales, boost property values, attract tourists and young workers, make seniors and others who don’t drive more independent, and make it easier to stay healthy by getting more exercise.  Outside of the downtown areas, our scenic highways attract vacationing bicyclists, a group that would rapidly increase with some common sense Complete Streets improvements like wider shoulders.

Senator Feltes of Concord has introduced a bill, SB243, to put into practice the recommendations of the bipartisan Study Committee on Complete Streets published last fall.  The Senate Transportation Committee is holding a hearing for the bill tomorrow, Valentine's Day.

Here are the elements of SB243:

  1. The NH Department of Transportation Commissioner shall
    1. Formalize criteria for municipal project applications for complete streets projects.
    2. Create a guidebook for establishing a transit system and encouraging walking and biking as viable means of transportation.
    3. Update the state's minimum geometric guidelines for local roads and streets, as well as any other out-of-date documents.
  2. There is hereby established a matching grants pilot program to facilitate grants to municipalities for complete streets programs.  The commissioner's implementation of this pilot program shall be consistent with paragraph I and grant applicants and recipients shall not be subject to the requirements of the United States Department of Transportation's Transportation Alternatives Program.  The commissioner shall prioritize grant applications with higher municipal shares or private leveraging and grant applications most consistent with criteria and policies developed under paragraph I.

Together, the elements in paragraph one will help communities partner with NH DOT to determine which Complete Streets strategies will help them reach their specific goals, whether related to safety, tourism, economic vitality, or health.  Many of our towns have state highways as their Main Street.  This bill will help improve communication between the state, regional, and local levels as they work together to make New Hampshire more desirable to businesses, tourists, young workers, and seniors who look for transportation options, walkable downtowns, and roads that are safer for bicyclists.

In addition, paragraph two sets up a pilot program with funding for municipal complete streets programs.  Demand for complete streets funding is vastly outpacing the funds available, as 45 towns submitted applications for a total of $26M in TAP-eligible projects last fall, with only $6.5M available in the program.  This pilot program would allow communities a second chance to advance their projects.

You can give your community a Valentine this year, by attending the hearing on SB243, or by letting your senator know your views by telephone or email.

 

Hearing: 02/14/2017, Room 103, LOB, 02:00 pm

 

Here is the list of the Senate Transportation Committee members and their contact information.  If you or anyone you know lives in any of these towns, please call your Senator today to express your position on this important bill.

 

Senator Regina Birdsell (R-District 19: Derry, Windham, Hampstead) Contact Information:
State House, Room 105-A
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-4151
Email: Regina.Birdsell@leg.state.nh.us
Senator William Gannon (R-District 23: Sandown, Chester, Exeter, Kingston, Epping, Danville, Fremont, Brentwood, East Kingston) Contact Information:
State House, Room 124
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-7803
Senator Ruth Ward (R-District 8: Croydon, Newport, Unity, Acworth, Stoddard, Antrim, Deering, Weare, Bradford, Sutton, Newbury, Springfield, New London, Sunapee, Goshen, Grantham, Lempster, Washington, Marlow, Hillborough, Langdon, Windsor, Bennington, Francestown ) Contact Information:
State House, Room 105-A
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-6733
Email: ruth.ward@leg.state.nh.us
 Senator David Watters (R-District 4: Barrington, Dover, Rollinsford, and Somersworth) Contact Information:
Legislative Office Building 101-A
33 N State St
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-8631
Email: david.watters@leg.state.nh.us
 Senator Scott McGilvray   (D-District 16: Dunbarton, Bow, Hooksett, Candia and Wards 1, 2, 12 in Manchester) Contact Information:
Legislative Office Building 101-A 33 N State St
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-3067
Email: Scott.McGilvray@leg.state.nh.us